Though the labor market has grown robustly nationwide this year, progress has been uneven across blue states and red states. An increasing number of people in red states have stopped looking for work, while a larger share of people in blue states are actively in the workforce.
Unemployment rates dropped to record lows in Alabama, California, Hawaii, Mississippi and Texas in November. The Labor Department’s report on state unemployment showed rates fell in 19 other states, a positive sign for U.S. economic growth. Over the past 12 months, 27 states have added payroll jobs – with largest absolute gains in Texas, where the number of jobs climbed 330,600. California was second in job additions with 288,300. Job totals have essentially been unchanged in 23 other states. Hawaii reported the lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 2 percent. The unemployment rate was below 2.7 percent in Nebraska, New Hampshire and North Dakota. In total, 17 states have unemployment rates below this national average of 4.1 percent.
Statewide unemployment also fell sharply in November, to 4.6 percent from 4.9 percent a month earlier. The 4.6 percent statewide rate is the lowest since 1976, according to data compiled by economist Sung Won Sohn of CSU Channel Islands. The EDD said California employers added 47,400 workers to their payrolls last month. Although much of the job growth in November was seasonal, as employers geared up for the holidays, the new numbers also dovetail with other signs that the economy has been continuing to perk along in recent months.
Unfortunately for Governor Brown, the recession he fears may already have arrived in California. The following chart showing the trailing twelve month averages of California’s civilian labor force and number of employed is one that we’ve adapted from a different project to show that data in the context of the state’s higher-than-federal minimum wage increases and periods of negative GDP growth for the national economy. It shows that in 2017, the size of the state’s labor force has peaked and begun to decline in 2017, while the number of employed shows very slow to stagnant growth during the year.
The economy appears to be on its firmest footing in at least a decade, with hiring picking up from earlier this year and the unemployment rate holding at a 17-year low in November.
When the latest jobs report comes out Friday, look beyond the top-line number. For months now economists have suggested that the low unemployment rate—4.1% as of last month’s report—implies that America is at or near full employment. Yet the labor market is still below its prerecession peak, with about two million jobs missing. Many of those workers have joined the disability rolls. Others have simply dropped out of the workforce in favor of leisure time.
Facing a significant revenue shortfall this year, BuzzFeed is laying off about 100 employees and reorganizing its advertising sales and business operations as it moves away from relying purely on native advertising. BuzzFeed plans to reduce its U.S. staff by 8%, with all the cuts coming from the business and sales side of the organization, the company said Wednesday. Some editorial staffers and business-side employees in the U.K. will also be let go. BuzzFeed employs about 1,700 people world-wide.
California posted strong job gains in October, as the Golden State’s economic engine pushed the unemployment rate down to 4.9% from 5.1% a month earlier.
In all, the state added 31,700 net new jobs last month, according to data released Friday by the Employment Development Department.
The report marked the first time since March that employers added jobs in consecutive months, boosting confidence in an economy that has slowed somewhat from last year.
Job openings were little changed at 6.1 million on the last business day of September. Job openings have been at or near record high levels since June. Over the month, hires and separations were little changed at 5.3 million and 5.2 million, respectively.
U.S. employers hired at a strong pace in October, and revisions showed the labor market weathered hurricane damage better than previously estimated.Nonfarm payrolls rose a seasonally adjusted 261,000 in October, a pickup from the prior month, the Labor Department said. The unemployment rate declined to 4.1%, its lowest level since December 2000. Economists expected 315,000 new jobs and a 4.2% unemployment rate last month. Wages rose 2.4% from a year earlier, a slowdown from last month.September’s payrolls data, initially reported as the first drop in seven years, were revised to show employers actually created 18,000 new jobs that month, extending the economy’s streak of job gains to a record 85 straight months.
The rate at which workers quit their jobs—seen by many economists as a sign of confidence in the labor market—fell slightly to a seasonally adjusted 2.1% in August from 2.2% in July, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, known as Jolts, released Wednesday.
The quits rate, or the share of employed people who voluntarily leave their jobs in a month, has held nearly steady for two years after slowly climbing after the recession ended in mid-2009. The sideways move in the quits rate comes at a time when the unemployment rate has fallen to a 16-year low and the number of available jobs has touched the highest level on records back to 2000.
The country shed 33,000 jobs in September, the first loss in seven years, the Labor Department said Friday, ending the longest stretch of job growth on record.
But that decline was skewed down by Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas in late August, and Irma, which hit Florida in early September. The storms came just before businesses filled out monthly surveys of payrolls, which are submitted to the government and used to tabulate hiring. Many businesses reported reduced payrolls during the survey week of Sept. 12. Employment in the restaurant industry, in particular, took a big hit, falling 105,000 in September from the month before, after averaging growth of 29,000 during the prior six months.
Weakness in the labor market doesn’t adequately explain why fewer men are working or seeking jobs, according to a new paper published by economist Scott Winship and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. One big contributor is the rising number of men in their prime working years–aged 25 to 54–who are getting federal disability benefits, or report being disabled, and who are not actively searching for jobs, Mr. Winship concludes. This suggests there is less slack in the labor market—such as people who could be drawn in off the sidelines—than many policy makers believe.
California’s slowing economic expansion was evident in August as the state lost 8,200 net jobs and the unemployment rate rose to 5.1%, from 4.8% a month earlier, according to data released Friday from the state’s Employment Development Department. The drop in employment follows a robust July in which the Golden State gained the most jobs in more than a year: 84,500, revised up from a previous estimate of 82,600. August’s slide back was in large part driven by employers in the leisure and hospitality sector: They cut 12,400 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis — the largest decrease by any sector in the state. Professional and business services and the public sector also lost jobs. Manufacturing and the trade, transportation and utilities sector, meanwhile, gained jobs.
The pace of hiring slowed in August, while the U.S. unemployment rate edged up.
Nonfarm payrolls rose by a seasonally adjusted 156,000 in August from the prior month, the Labor Department said. The unemployment rate rose to 4.4% from 4.3%, though the level remains historically low. Wages maintained a modest growth rate.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected 179,000 new jobs and a 4.3% unemployment rate last month.